Prince George's County police have made two arrests in the apparent homicides of four people found in Riverdale, Md.
Two suspects -- Darrell Lynn Bellard, 43, of Dickinson, Texas, and Tkeisha Nicole Gilmer, 18, of Texas City, Texas -- are being held without bond by the Prince George's County Department of Corrections. Both are charged with murder.
Prince George's County court judge Thomas Love referred them to the public defender service. Both Bellard and Gilmer admitted to committing the murders, according to charging documents.
Police investigating the apparent homicides were able to identify the victims. They include Dawn Yvette Brooks, the 38-year-old Lanham mother of the two juveniles -- Shayla Shante Sikyala, 3, and Shakur Sylvester Sikyala, 4 -- discovered dead on the scene. The children’s' aunt, Mwasiti Sikyala, 41, of Lanham, was the fourth person discovered dead at the Riverdale home.
The suspects may have been linked to the adult victims through the drug trade -- specifically, marijuana, according to police, who are still investigating that connection.
Police spokeswoman Lt. Tammy Sparkman said police received a call about an assault at a home in the 6800 block of Third Street at about 2:40 a.m. Friday. When officers arrived at the home, they discovered two women in their late 30s and a 5-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl inside, Prince George's County Police Chief Roberto Hylton said. Each had suffered gunshot wounds. All four were pronounced dead at the scene.
The bodies were found in a space above a garage that was detached from a house, Hylton said. The home was being leased and it appears the victims were living in that space, which had electricity but no running water or toilet and was filled with trash, debris and filth, making it difficult to look for evidence, Hylton said. The numerous bags at the scene gave police the impression that the people staying in the space weren't permanent residents.
"It appears to be a landfill inside of a home," Hylton said.
The home had been cited for code violations in the past, and follow up visits were made, but it is unclear if the home was brought up to code and later returned to a state of squalor.
Dozens of recruits from the Prince George's County police academy helped process the scene Friday afternoon, searching for evidence and any weapons, the Associated Press reported.
On Friday, police interviewed several individuals described as witnesses and persons of interest. Hylton said they have a person of interest in custody and may be able to close the case soon. The person of interest may be someone who lives in the main house, Ward reported.
It is unclear whether that person of interest corresponds with either of the two arrests in the case. The circumstances of the arrests of Bellard and Gilmer, both of Texas, are unknown.
The person who reported the assault was at the scene when police arrived, but police did not say if that person was a person of interest, Ward reported.
Police said they do not believe it was a random act, NBC4's Elaine Reyes reported. They believe the victims knew their killer.
Stay with NBC4 and NBCWashington.com for more information as it becomes available.
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